Blog | October 9th, 2018

In one end and out the other, rough-surfaced steel components exit a sandblasting station with perfectly cleaned finishes. Dirt and grime, that’s gone. If there’s oil or grease biting into the alloy, the process scours those surface contaminants away. And rust, of course, that ugly electrochemical bloom can’t hang around when this abrasive operation is running. Enough with the advantageous results, though, what drives an effective sandblasting process?

Employing the Abrasive Medium  

If the loose granular material could be viewed in close-up, its sharp-edged silicon dioxide base would stand out in sharp relief. The tiny crystals aren’t as durable as diamonds, but they’re readily available, and they’re more than hard enough to carry out their steel-scouring or polishing duties. Forcibly propelled by compressed air, the gritty medium exits a guiding nozzle at high velocity. That sandblasting stream then impacts the surface of a steel workpiece. During the length of this short contest, all non-ferrous materials sticking to the steel parts are instantly “blasted” into extinction.

Compressed Air Generation  

The abrasive equipment used in this application has to be managed properly. To that end, the business part of the equipment assembly is sealed inside an enclosure. The blast cabinet can be fixed, portable, or mounted on a gyrating gimbal. For that last category, we add table and tumbler blasters, plus a number of other fast-moving equipment forms. Meanwhile, in the fixed cabinet form, a compressor generates air volume and high-pressure flow. The contained medium (the sand) moves into the stream and is accelerated out of the nozzle. In the blast chamber now, the directed stream of sand cleans the steel, gives it a decorative finish, or provides the alloy with a specially commissioned finish.

Managing Sandblast Control Factors  

Like a professionally conducted paint job, the surface can be masked. This step prevents certain surfaces from being exposed to the process. Meanwhile, back inside the equipment, there’s the feed system to load, the venturi blasting nozzle to configure, and the coarseness of the medium to select. A fine sand mix is commonly loaded into the feed canister, but that material selection stage can vary according to the finishing needs of the project. Sand is obviously an effective polishing and cleaning medium, as it scours away corrosive patches and oily contaminants, but it’s certainly not the only industry standard here, not even close.

When a steel fabrication shop pulls in corroded or filthy sheets, sandblasting stations quickly restore the materials. They exit the blast enclosure with glossy, like-new finishes. For more finishing options, however, there are different abrasive mediums, including steel grit, glass beads, and coal slag.

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